Kuura Rhizome – Autumn 2017

Kuura is a new Australian pu’er vendor started this year by Ayden Graham, who may be best known in the Australian tea scene as the winner of the 2016 World Tea Brewing Championship. He has spent time in Yunnan during the spring and autumn seasons sourcing and pressing material directly from farmers, and says he has a particular interest in farms that have good biodiversity and agricultural practices.

After a limited spring range earlier in the year, Kuura is back with a lots of autumn stock. The new flagship raw pu’er cake is called Rhizome, made from single farm old tree autumn 2017 material from Menghai.

Initial impressions

I’m not sure how to describe the Kuura artwork… maybe ‘cybergoth’? It’s quite unique and fun, but obviously the most important thing is the tea itself. Out of the wrapper the cake smelt faintly floral. The compression on the cake was slightly heavier than what I’m used to.

First few steeps

Brewing in my clay pot trying the first steeps after the initial rinse, I was surprised at how sweet and soft they were. Normally with young raw I find that the early steeps are more bitter before smoothing out in the third or fourth. This tea was sweet with almost no bitterness right from the get-go. There was also a light, almost creamy floral aroma accompanying this.

Steeps 5-10

The tea remained quite consistent with sweetness increasing with steep time. A mild astringency slowly built in the mouth with a menthol sensation building in the back of the throat. Despite trying to hit the tea hard with my spring water as close to boiling as I could get, the texture did not thicken up much more than what I’d describe as ‘medium’.

Later steeps

The journey continued as before: I enjoyed increasing sweetness levels with longer steeps. The light, creamy floral notes persisted, and I was reminded of drinking a creamy green tea or high mountain oolong at times. The chaqi I felt was quite mild. For some time after the session the pleasant menthol sensation lingered in my throat.

Final thoughts

I was impressed with the tea and really enjoyed drinking it. I feel like I’d be able to enjoy drinking this with others who might be entirely new to pu’er, which is a big benefit for me.

The other major aspect is ageing potential, which I obviously can’t speak much to at this point (I have very little experience in this area). I’ll be sure to report back any major changes I notice as I continue to drink this over the coming months.

The $120 AUD ($90 USD) price tag makes this quite an expensive 200g young raw cake (60c/g AUD or 45c/g USD). I had reservations about stretching my budget to buy it but Kuura’s early 2017 “Vector” raw cake was a banger (so I had faith) and I like supporting local vendors.

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